I still love you.
I wanted to get that out of the way in case you didn’t bother to read further. We didn’t part on the best of terms, in fact, when we last spoke, I didn’t recognize it as goodbye. For twelve months, I’ve waited for you to come to your senses, but instead, this morning I found out you are to marry Lucinda by mid-June.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. It seems our love had been fate’s experiment from the moment I ran into you at the corner of West 6th Street and Mill. Maybe you were supposed to be in that crosswalk, but I should’ve been at East 6th Street, a couple blocks away. Had I been blessed with a sense of direction, you never would’ve rolled across the hood of my Passat. I never would’ve spent two guilty weeks in the hospital praying you’d wake from the coma. I would’ve been spared the catch of my breath when you opened your eyes and smiled at me.
I saw her at your bedside as well. Fate can be cruel sometimes. Often, I began my shift, taking the chair still warm from her vigil. What began as duty changed to devotion when you first held my hand.
When I demanded you choose her or me, I meant that I loved you so much I would stay, even though sharing you meant the fragile fault lines of my heart would never heal. I didn’t contemplate the possibility (or ramifications) of you choosing her. Now I know the misery of not having your love at all is far greater than the dagger of your divided affections.
I expected you to realize your error in not returning my calls. I knew if I stopped by your house enough times, you’d finally unbolt the door and enfold me in your hungry arms. Even as I heard the news of your engagement, I imagined me being the one you really wanted. It’s little consolation that you feel obligated to her because you loved her before me.
Even though I know she put you up to it, the restraining order has dimmed my hope of reconciliation. If you can’t promise me a lifetime, I’ll settle for one more night.
With a mixture of shock and disgust, I stared at the red-inked truth on the plain white page. My heart spilled out like the contents of a stolen handbag.
I read my words; stupid, silly notions that took a life of their own. As impulsively as I scrawled the secrets lurking in my heart’s shadows, I tore the paper into dozens of pieces. I twisted and pulled until the fragments were too small to grasp between my fingertips, and then with one quick swipe of my hand, they fluttered to the ground.
My bag once again packed and zipped closed; I could walk away and pretend my moment of bared soul never happened.
Before I lost my nerve, I picked up the phone and dialed the familiar digits.
His voice didn’t evoke the yearned-for quiver in my gut. Fate nudged me to disconnect the call. My heart wanted Jeffrey.
“It’s Catherine. Adam, I will marry you.”
Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.
This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly prompt, which is to write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 553) (1) with some kind of reference to the media prompt, a short film by Tanmay Shah, entitled Intent, AND (2) use the last sentence of: “Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.”
Thanks so much to everyone who took time to read my piece last week, The Family Tree. It was voted first place in that challenge. Oh, and if you find the sentence prompt spectacularly crappy, that would be my fault – the first place vote picks the next sentence prompt.
If you want the chance to pick out a better sentence prompt for the next challenge, click the badge below to check out the full Speakeasy guidelines and be sure to submit a link to your own story when the grid opens up on Tuesday. As always, the challenge is open to everyone, but is limited to a maximum of 40 submissions per week.